Northern Art, Community and Environment Research (NACER) is a research group led by professors Timo Jokela, Mirja Hiltunen and Glen Coutts, in which visual art education and applied visual art are researched and developed in a northern context. The term NACER (a Spanish verb) means to be born, to come into the world; to develop, to originate, to have its source, to start, to grow and it resonates well with the place-specific and socially engaged orientation of the group. NACER reflects the changing socio-cultural circumstances in the North and seeks to investigate future directions for socially effective and sensitive initiatives that use arts-based methods to bring benefits to local circumstances. Group members combine an understanding of visual art education as a social activity with a strong vision of the innovative potential of contemporary art. Methodologically, the group share an interest in the development and application of Art-Based Action Research (ABAR). ABAR is an approach that aims to develop the professional methods and working approaches of the artist-teacher-researcher or artist-researcher in addition to seeking solutions to known problems and future visions in environments and communities.